Thursday, January 18, 2007

Slammin Sammy In Texas

Sammy Sosa a Ranger? Isn’t he like "fidy" years old? Sammy Sosa is ready to make a major league comeback and it looks like it will be with Texas.

According to ESPN: The Texas Rangers have offered Sammy Sosa a minor league contract and invitation to spring training, where the veteran slugger would have the chance to make the major league club. The two sides have now reached an agreement in principle, and now general manager Jon Daniels and agent Adam Katz are trying to work out the final details. A formal announcement is expected in the next few days.

"Sammy seems hungry and somewhat humbled by the last two years,'' Texas general manager Jon Daniels said in an e-mail to "This is about giving a second chance to a guy who did a lot for the game, and who wants an opportunity to prove he can contribute. We're not setting expectations, and he's not asking for anything other than a chance to compete."

Sosa worked out for Rangers officials at Ameriquest Field on Monday and later had dinner with Daniels. Sosa, a seven time All-Star and author of three 60-plus home run seasons, has 588 homers in a 17-year career, but he hit just .221 with 14 round-trippers in 102 games with the Orioles in 2005 and did not play last year.

So the big question is if this is a good deal. The answer is yes. Many would ask why would you want to bring in a steroid suspected superstar and risk hurting the image of a franchise?

First, the Rangers really don’t have a true “image” after only winning one playoff game in their thirty plus year franchise. This is just a minor deal that has little negativity and huge reward.

Sammy wants to prove to the fans that he can get it done without steroids. He WANTS to clear his name. He is fighting for his manhood and WANTS to succeed and prove everyone wrong. Personally he won’t come close to putting up those godly numbers he had with the Cubs, but expect 20-25 hr, .265-.275 ba, and 70-80 rbi’s IF he has a decent season. Those could be very productive numbers and could add another dynamic to the Ranger’s offence.

Sosa would also give the Rangers a much needed right-handed bat in the outfield. Three of Texas' current outfielders are left-handed hitters: Brad Wilkerson, Kenny Lofton and Frank Catalanotto.

The situation is perfect; working with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo is just another advantage.

Sosa sprinting out into right field in his blue and red, isn't that just classic Sammy? Sosa making his return to Texas is going to be something fun to watch this season.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Blast Off!

Texas is truly the NBA mecca of basketball. If you haven’t checked ESPN’s NBA power rankings lately, there are three Texas teams in the top four. On top are the Mavericks, followed by the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs in third and fourth respectably. The Suns' ten-game win streak is the only thing that is keeping the Lone Star State trio of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio from occupying the first three slots.

Last night was redemption time for the Mavericks as they lost to their Houston rivals by 30+ points earlier in the season. The Mavs needed to make a statement by showing the Rockets who the king of Texas really was.

Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard played their usual starring roles, combined 58 points, and Devean George made some big plays off the bench. Devean George slowed McGrady in the second half and he also hit the consecutive 3-pointers that sent the Mavs rolling toward a 109-96 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

George was 4-of-5 on 3-pointers, including a pair that started a 15-2 spurt that helped the Mavericks tie it. The Rockets hardly challenged him as they could keep up with the fast paced game of Dallas’.

The Mavericks have won five straight games and 18 of 19. The Rockets had won four straight and nine of 10.

Nowitzki, who was named the conference player of the week earlier in the day, cracked 30 points for the sixth time in nine games. Ever since switching back to the leather ball, Dirk has been shooting a lights out 50% from the field. Guess that whole ball thing really was bothering the players? Just another reason why David Stern hates the Mavericks! I was just joking Mr. Stern.

Dallas DID avenge that 31-point loss at Houston earlier this season and tightened its claim as the hottest team in Texas.

This Maverick team is playing playoff energy basketball and nothing right now will stop them. Could another thirteen game winning streak be in the question, well with this team any height can be achieved.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Close Game Heroics

The Mavs, who have the NBA's best record at 28-8, bounced back after falling 101-98 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, breaking their 13-game win streak that began the game after the last loss to Utah.

Dirk had his best game of the season as he lifted the Mavericks to this win. Averaging about 30 points per game in his past 6 games, Dirk had a season high 38 points.

Stackhouse was kicked out after getting called for his second flagrant foul. He also was hit with a technical in the first half for an argument with Utah coach Jerry Sloan. Stackhouse played physical in your face basketball all night and should be applauded for his effort. It wasn't a matter of poor attitude, it was his "drive" that wanted to win the game, which overtook him.

So far there have been two 13-game win streaks this season and hopefully this will be the start of another.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Defense Wins it For Mavs

Coming off of a sinus infection, Dirk carried the team to their 11th straight victory, 112-88 over the Seattle. This is the first time the team has had two double digit win streaks in one season in the team's history. Dirk added 31 points and a season high 15 points to the teams all-around victorious win.

Josh Howard was cooking again as he is making a strong bid to play in Vegas. Josh Howard won western conference player of the week for the second straight week, which is a first time for any player in the Maverick's franchise. Another fanastic game for the Wake Forest alumni, 21 points and nine rebounds, yeah that the regular for J-How.

Dallas held a 58-30 rebounding edge, 21-8 on the offensive boards, and scored 34 second-chance points to nine for Seattle. These stats should sum up the game as it was easy the whole night.

During this 11 game win streak, the Mavericks have held all opponents under 100 points as it is showing that the team is buying into Avery Johnson’s: defense first strategy.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Ranger's Nasty Bullpen

When the Rangers signed Eric Gagne a few weeks ago the team, the team has gained the image as "the" best bullpen in the league. If Eric Gagne can pitch even the slightest bit like he did when he was the most dominate reliever in the game in 2004, the Rangers certainly have one nasty relieving core. This is how it looks:

1. Eric Gagne
2. Akinori Otsuka
3. Frank Francisco
4. Wes Littleton
5. Kameron Loe
6. C.J. Wilson
7. Joaquin Benoit

The Rangers will most likely go with a seven man rotation this year because they now have a more reliable starting rotation. There will be plenty of competition during spring training to crack this elite bullpen as Ron Mahay, Josh Rupe, Rick Bauer, John Koranka, Jon Rienicker, and Edison Volquez will all be auditioning for a spot. If everybody is healthy, the Rangers should go into the season with the notion that their bullpen will be a big asset to help this team win in close games. Teams that have exceptional bullpens usually are teams that play into October.

There were rumors circling that the Rangers were looking to trade Otsuka in order to fill out there "used to be" depleted rotation. With the addition of Brando McCarthy it looks like the Rangers no longer need to shop Otsuka. Having a one-two punch of Canadian/Japanese flair in the 8th and 9th innings will be something fun to watch this season.

The bullpen was a big problem last year as the team had trouble playing in close games. Many leads were blow and thus many games were lost. This rotation is scary on paper, and overall the Rangers have vastly improved their pitching. Every year we see how good pitching dominated good hitting. It’s a very fact and this year the Rangers have a chance of winning with pitching.

- Big-D Sports